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Hardware Idle

Timothy Lord Checks Out Keyboards & Tech At CES 59

Posted by Roblimo
from the trade-shows-a-few-people-still-care-about dept.
Slashdot's Timothy Lord is at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. There is no way any one person can take in the whole show. It's just too big for that. But on Timothy's first day, he spotted an overlay keyboard for the iPad that's been mentioned on Slashdot before, an invisible keyboard for your smartphone or tablet, and a crazy-interesting all-in-one computing device with a built-in projector and built-in virtual keyboard. Watch the video and join Timothy as he learns about these three devices. (Before you ask: Yes, we'll have more videos from CES over the next few days.)"

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Timothy Lord Checks Out Keyboards & Tech At CES

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  • by nanoflower (1077145) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @10:00AM (#38673066)

    I have no interest in any of these products but I do find them interesting. Touchfire looks like a good product for someone that has decided to use an Ipad (though if you really need a keyboard that much why not use a laptop?) The virtual computer is neat just for the way it handles mouse and keyboard inputs without actually having a keyboard/mouse. The last product they talked about, Snapkeys, would irritate me since it would force you to learn an entirely new way to type in order to use it. It's another case of forcing the user to change his behavior to accommodate the lack of a keyboard on a tablet.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12, 2012 @10:24AM (#38673266)

      I have no interest in any of these products but I do find them interesting.

      A fine distinction, indeed...

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      I have no interest in any of these products but I do find them interesting.

      I really don't care what you find interresting and I care a lot about that.

    • by tepples (727027)

      though if you really need a keyboard that much why not use a laptop?

      Because you don't need a keyboard all the time. Sometimes you know you'll need it; other times you can leave it at home. This is the concept behind the Eee Pad Transformer by ASUS, which was introduced along with a matching keyboard+battery dock.

    • They're aiming this product at hipster tossers [touchfire.com] (*) who bought the iPad and gushed about it to their friends. Now "no keyboard" is no longer "underground", (**) which gives them an excuse to admit to themselves that it's actually really fucking annoying trying to use one without it, and rush out and buy the latest iOverpricedAccessoryTat.

      (*) Seriously, *look* at the guy- he's the archetypal odious hipster twat if ever I saw one. It's the bloody hat that does it- he deserves to be beaten to death with his o
  • I know you bought this company so you could do something with it; But until you do, please can we have the FingerWorks TouchStream back.
    • by WillAdams (45638)

      Isn't that the technology underlying the Magic Trackpad?

      http://www.apple.com/magictrackpad/ [apple.com]

      Is there a reason why one couldn't create a driver to work w/ two of them and print an overlay for a keyboard?

      • by Myopic (18616) *

        Yes, that is the same technology, completely stripped of everything that made it awesome. To compare the TouchStream to the Magic Trackpad is to completely underestimate the TouchStream. I recently sold my original TouchStream for 50% more than I paid for it, a decade ago. It boggles the mind that Apple isn't in the business of selling $500 keyboards to users who desperately want to buy them.

        • That's because Matias has already cornered the market on its $600 keyboards [matias.ca]. I'm guessing this has something to do with the fact that health insurers, employers, and governments are willing to pay so much to make a business or agency compliant with the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
    • by Myopic (18616) *

      I was a TouchStream owner until recently. I bought a Truly Ergonomic keyboard and am quite happy with it. My favorite feature of the TS was the columnar layout, and the TE keyboard does a good job in that regard. Obviously the TE doesn't have the multitouch gestures, but it does have physical keys. To some people, that means it is not at all a replacement for the TS, but for others like me, it means it is the perfect replacement for the TS. Good luck.

      PS I'm typing this on the TE right now. I recommend it.

  • by PerlJedi (2406408) Works for Slashdot on Thursday January 12, 2012 @10:09AM (#38673136) Homepage Journal
    I personally find the "All in One" computer there the most intersting. It reminds me a bit of Sixth Sense [pranavmistry.com] wearable gesture interface from ted talks a few years back.
    • It needs to be thinner / look more sexy. Also, those laser keyboard suck, as there is 0 tactile feedback.

      I also think that some of the stuff it does is pointless, if they are really going for a mobile device (many of the ports, and maybe even the projector?, also it's too big and fat to be something you carry around), and on the other hand, some of it's features are pointless if it's NOT a mobile device (built in mouse/keyboard/touchscreen) - it does not look like a particularly handy device to hold, so the

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @10:12AM (#38673156) Homepage

    "A keyboard. ... How quaint."

  • I think that gel keyboard for the ipad is stupid - but I still enjoyed seeing it in action after we had discussed it here. (I also think the ipad is stupid, but people keep buying them - so maybe that keyboard will do well too.)

    I still don't get how the invisible keyboard works. Would have appreciated him doing more than explaining that letters are shaped differently and then using it when I can't really see what he's doing.

    That last little machine was neat.

    All in all - I enjoyed this and look forward to th

    • by Scutter (18425)

      I still don't get how the invisible keyboard works. Would have appreciated him doing more than explaining that letters are shaped differently and then using it when I can't really see what he's doing.

      There's a little mouse-clickable demo on the product's website that lets you try out the concept to get an idea for how it works. It's kind of annoying because it forces you to think about the shape of each letter as you type, which basically means you have to learn a whole new way of typing, and it's somewhat non-intuitive. I imagine that it would get easier the more you used it, though.

      • by Pokermike (896718)
        I agree that thinking about letter shapes is not what I want to do while typing -- maybe that works for people that write all the time, but not me. I'd prefer the letters be grouped by sound. Not sure how, but certainly all of the vowels would be on 1 "schwa" key.
        • by g253 (855070)
          Having toyed with the demo, I think the idea is that at first you need to sort of visualize the letters as you type, but you quickly develop muscle memory for that because there are only four keys and the mnemonic is easy and visual. It's not something like Dvorak where you would have a steep learning curve before payoff... But I'd sure be interested to know how non-dictionary words are handled - this is where those alternative keyboards usually fail.
      • by g253 (855070)
        Yeah, none of the videos I could find actually explain how it works. They just keep repeating it's awesome and show people fiddling fuzzily with their screens.
    • I thought the gell keyboard was by far the most clever product...I dont have a tablet, but something like that could make it more viable?

      • by Anonymous Coward
        I can get something similar by obscuring half of my monitor with my keyboard, and typing slower.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...when it projects those images directly on to my frickin' retina!

  • there are keyboards at a CES?

    i thought everybody uses these touchy smarty iThingies these days.

    i thought keyboards [wikimedia.org] are for ubergeeks only these days.

  • In 2010, an overlay keyboard was one of the first obvious needs that occurred to me [slashdot.org] when the iPad came out. I'm surprised it took this long.
    • Apropos overlay keyboard: am I the only one who remembers the Sony Ericsson P800 [cnet.com]? That came out TEN years ago and had this? I wonder, what is this "progress" you speak of (besides Moore's law)?
  • If you click through on the invisible keyboard link, there's a hilarious video in their "Video Gallery" where a guy sticks this on his steering wheel so he can text while driving.

    What's really funny is that they're serious.

  • Watch the Snapkeys video in the link. Notice how the user starts typing one word, and then autocorrect changes it to something completely different. "foo" autocompletes to "movie"? This feels an awful lot like the Hacker Typer [hackertyper.net].
  • ...an invisible keyboard [snapkeys.com] for your smartphone or tablet...

    Looks more like an invisible webserver to me...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft holds patents on virtual multitouch in 3D space (as well as scanning for motions against an arbitrary surface) with camera and possibly some simple light spectrums. also they have patents on hot swappable modular cell phone hardware. Next gen smart phones under MS Windows phones or possibly under license by MS on Androids, will have "typing" on surfaces or even in the air, simply by making gestures in space towards a front facing camera (or one that can be pointed, for example, at the table in fro

  • When they get that All-in-one computing device down to the size of my cell phone and it'll run Crysis at 60 fps I am so there!
  • my model M when you pry it from my cold dead hands.
  • The first link is especially funny, as they've merely recreated Alan Kay's original vision [wikipedia.org] from 1968!

    Sorry folks, the keyboard is not dead and touch screens are not the future. Prepare to get over it.

  • by hitmark (640295)

    1. Do not know why but i really want that cube computer!

    2. When did /. start producing original content?!

  • Cannot see how they are going to support iOS devices - the demo clearly shows some custom app which is worthless. I still have to see any kind of custom keyboard (outside of Cydia) for iOS, which is a shame because Swype or SlideIt keyboards would really be great
  • TouchFire completely useless. First you need to buy the Apple iPad 2 cover and then every time I want to type I have to close and open the cover in a special way? Fail.

    Snap keys seems a plausible way to rapidly enter text on a tablet, once you learn how to use it, I mean, if you want to spend the time to learn to use it.

    And another vaporware projection PC product.

    Looks like keyboard-less typing is still a fail in 2012 which solidifies that Tablets != PC's yet.

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

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